Masons came together Saturday to help fellow Paintsville Mason Willie Owens, who was badly burned in an accident in June, and with the help of the community raised more than $12,000.
Anthony Skeans with Paintsville Lodge 381 F&AM said that, in all his time knowing Willie, he has never heard anyone with something bad to say about him.
“He’s just one of those good men that does what you’re supposed to do in life,” Skeans said. “And a lodge is just a consolidation of men for the betterment of each other and ourselves, and to help in times of need.”
Skeans said prior fundraisers selling bratwurst at July’s National Jeep Day had been successful and raised a few thousand dollars, but Jim Hill and Tim Branham with the Widows’ Sons motorcycle group came forward to help. While a rally of support was taking place at the Paintsville Recreation Center Saturday, Masons, friends and family were out at roadblocks raising money.
“We had no clue we’d make that kind of money,” Skeans said.
Skeans said the state Mason organization, through the Masons Helping Masons program, will match at least part of funds raised locally in situations like these.
“If you’ve ever met Willie, you know what he’s like. He’s worked two jobs all his life, he’s raising two babies,” Skeans said. “He was horribly injured through no fault of his own and he’s faced a triple amputation at this point.”
Paintsville Lodge 381 F&AM posted numerous video well wishes from members and others helping fundraise on Saturday on its Facebook page, facebook.com/PaintsvilleLodge381FAM.